Some days it can seem overwhelming, you’re just trying to keep up and not make mistakes while having the constant pressure to produce more results and be more productive. Well, I hope I can save you some time and stress by sharing a few tools that will make your life easier and marketing better. The below list represents a set of resources to consider as part of an essential toolkit when extending your marketing efforts to the web:
SurveyMonkey – This survey tool has been around for a long time and it provides a lot of value considering simple surveys are free. It also has decent online reporting. I’ve personally used it a number of times for small quick surveys.
SurveyGizmo – This monthly subscription service garners a lot of positive reviews for it’s intuitive interface and good customer service. It offers a plethora of features and question types.
Itracks – When your survey needs become more complex or you don’t have the time to construct one yourself, then Saskatoon based Itracks is a good choice. They offer personal project management, online reporting, and access to survey panel respondents. I actually used to work for Itracks at one time and can assure you they run a tight ship.
eMail List & Campaign Management
MailChimp – This is an excellent web-based email campaign tool that provides list management, templates, tracking, and integrates with many other third party tools (I.e. WordPress CMS, Drupal CMS, and SurveyGizmo). Best of all, it’s free for up to 500 subscribers and 3000 emails per month.
ConstantContact – This is an industry leader in email marketing and offers built-in capabilities to conduct surveys and administer events. They offer list management, templates, tracking, and a terrific resource library.
Social Media Utilities (Besides the usual suspects)
HubSpot – This company was founded by MIT graduates who literally wrote the book on inbound marketing by utilizing social media. HubSpot is a software platform that helps you optimize your website content to be found better by search engines, provides tracking of where leads are coming from, and offers tools to help convert those leads into customers. They also offer a great blog with many resources regarding internet marketing.
TubeMogul – I wrote an earlier blog post about online video as an important part of any website marketing strategy since it has many benefits. TubeMogul is a free service that provides a single point for deploying uploads to the top video sharing sites, and powerful analytics on who, what, and how videos are being viewed.
Setster – This is an elegant widget that can be easily applied to almost any website allowing website visitors to schedule appointments with your organization. It is a great tool for helping website leads turn into actual meetings or empowering customers to schedule appointments with you at their convenience.
24Hour Assistant – This Saskatoon company offers a robust solution that allows online appointment scheduling along with powerful administration features that can be integrated into a website or simply used as a stand alone service. It is also accessible on mobile devices. I have personally used this service and know the owner, Katherine Regnier. She’s good peeps.
Online Presentations & Web Conferencing
SlideShare – Upload and share your PowerPoint presentations, Word documents and Adobe PDF Portfolios on SlideShare. Share publicly or privately. You can also easily embed presentations into your website or blog with no need for programming. SlideShare is also a tremendous resource for presentations regarding all types of topics.
DimDim – The best way to save money, time and travel is to collaborate over the Web with Dimdim. Push button simplicity lets everyone host or attend live meetings, demos and webinars using just a web browser. It’s free for small meetings with up to five participants and requires no software to install. It also provides free audio conferencing. The Pro and Webinar versions allow up to 50 and 1000 participants, respectively.
GoToWebinar – Affordable, proven, reliable, and robust. It offers much the same functionality as DimDim but with a few more features and broader customer support. It also offers audio conferencing by either VOIP or dedicated teleconference. I have used GoToWebinar for a number of online presentations and can confidently recommend it.
Search Engine Optimization
Google AdWords – If you’re looking for quick results to get on the first page of Google searches then paying for some keywords is the route to go. No matter what your budget, AdWords connects you with potential customers at the precise moment they’re searching for your products or services.
Authority Labs – I do not know a lot about Authority Labs but it made this list because it was recommended by Jay Baer who is a highly regarded social media marketing professional. In a nutshell, AuthorityLabs is a simple rank monitoring service. It helps people easily track and analyze their ranking performance on Google, Yahoo! and Bing.
AlphaSearch – There are tons of search engine optimization (SEO) professionals out there that claim they can guarantee first page rankings for your website within a week. They’re liars. The truth is a good SEO strategy takes diligence, frequent modification, and content optimization. AlphaSearch is a Halifax based company that takes a methodical and transparent approach to helping you optimize your website for long term benefits. I had a chance to work with the founder, Rob Swick, and he knows his stuff.
Reputation Management & Monitoring
Google Alerts – It’s simple, free, and a must. Use Google Alerts to send you notification of whenever news, websites, or blogs appear in Google search results with specific keywords you have identified. For instance, set up GoogleAlerts for your company name and/or brands.
SocialMention – A search engine that crawls the social web universe for mentions of the term you have identified. It then provides a summary regarding where those mentions are coming from and whether their positive, neutral or negative in connotation. It’s similar to Google Alerts but focuses more so on social media generated content.
StepRep – Saskatoon social software company, Vendasta, produces this referral and online reputation gem. Research has long stated that the best marketing is word-of-mouth referrals from people you know. The StepRep utility is an application that allows you to monitor what is being said about you, make links with everybody in your network to encourage recommendations and optionally provide incentive for those that send leads your way.
Radian6 – The perceived leader regarding online reputation management and monitoring, Radian6 offers a robust and sophisticated platform. It has a price tag to match. Good for large companies with enterprise needs that are affected significantly by public/consumer sentiment.
Pitch Engine – PitchEngine is a next generation wire service. It’s a social platform that enables PR to effectively package stories and share them with journalists, bloggers, and influencers worldwide via the social web. It has a free option, so it won’t hurt to give it a whirl.
Marketwire PR 2.0 – Marketwire is one of the largest newswire services in North America. They offer a large distribution network and their Press Release 2.0 product allows for the integration of audio, video, social media, and links in addition to being submitted across various traditional and web channels. I had a chance to try their service for a news release regarding the success of a new product (iPhone App TimmyMe) and it resulted in the story being posted by a number of blogs and a radio interview request.
Google Analytics – It’s simple, free, and a must. Powerful website statistics regarding hits, visits, referrers, along with a nice interface that even web novices can make sense of. If you are using Google AdWords then this is also the perfect complement since it helps you decipher what AdWords are producing the best results.
Omniture – If your website is large and complicated or you have more sophisticated needs regarding the tracking of traffic, conversion of visitors, and analysis of data then Omniture is a robust solution to consider.
The above tools are great for executing marketing activities and monitoring results but you should carefully consider how they will fit with your entire marketing strategy. It’s more important to integrate methods and technologies that are congruent with your overall objectives rather than those that are simply the most current. I tried to highlight a number of tools that should play nice with any marketing strategy; choosing the right mix for your toolkit is up to you. Of course, I’m glad to help.
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